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Injury Update: Aaron Hicks

After struggling in his first season in pinstripes, Aaron Hicks got off to a great start in 2017. In 60 games, the switch-hitting outfielder posted a slash line of .290/.398/.515.

In the midst of an All-Star caliber first half, the injury bug unfortunately came calling for Hicks. After suffering a right oblique injury, he was placed on the disabled list on June 25, and has not seen playing time since.

However, it appears that Hicks is making progress towards returning to the field.

On Tuesday, manager Joe Girardi told reporters that both Hicks and Tyler Austin were recently hitting off a tee and playing soft toss. Although it is progress, Girardi didn’t have a specific timetable for the versatile outfielder’s return.

During batting practice prior to Wednesday’s series finale against the Cincinnati Reds, Hicks spoke to reporters about his injury. According to WFAN’s Suzyn Waldman, he believes that he can possibly begin a rehab assignment as early as next week.

It’s great news for the Yankees to see that Hicks is making progress towards returning. Prior to his injury, he was a very valuable bat in the Yankees’ lineup.

Once Hicks does return, the Yankees are going to be faced with some difficult roster implications. Currently, they are carrying four outfielders, and it is likely that one will be removed from the Big League roster upon Hicks’ return.

Unless an injury occurs, it’s pretty safe to say that Aaron Judge and Brett Gardner won’t be moved to accommodate Hicks. That leaves the club with Jacoby Ellsbury and Clint Frazier, two players on completely different paths.

Ellsbury is definitely not the same player he once was. Recently, the $153 million-dollar man has been demoted to pinch-running duties, a role that a player with a such a huge contract shouldn’t fulfill. The 33-year-old should be the odd-man out, but his contract will probably dictate otherwise.

Clint Frazier has provided a huge spark since being called up, posting a slash line of .277/.284/.569 in 17 games. The 22-year-old has definitely proven his worth, and will make this a difficult decision for the Yankees when the time comes along.

We’re still a bit away from Hicks’ return, so the Yankees have time to sort through this situation. A lot could change between now and then, but the club must find a way to ensure they have the best roster in place as they battle to win the American League East Division.